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FEAD proposes more privatisation in Europe to achieve CE

The European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD) has recommended that more privatisation in waste management markets in Europe should be adopted to achieve a circular economy (CE).

Two public consultations are currently running to feed into the European Commission’s revised CE package, due to be released this autumn, with one specifically focused on waste markets.

Now FEAD has presented its suggestions, which it said would contribute to achieving Europe’s economic and environmental objectives.

FEAD recommends opening household waste management markets to private providers, and other suggestions include:

  • legal responsibility of municipalities limited to collection arrangements for household waste
  • member states not attaching public service obligations to waste management services that can be provided privately
  • equal market conditions and clear regulations for municipalities operating both on household and commercial waste markets, with competitive advantages for municipal undertakings removed (such as lower VAT rates and possibility of ‘cross-subsidisation’)

In his latest look at the European market, available on the MRW website, FEAD president and Suez chief executive David Palmer-Jones (above) said: “Open markets and fair competition stimulate customised services and solutions, and open up possibilities for innovation and investment. They also help small companies to enter the market.

“Private sector waste and resource management companies play a key role in a circular economy by delivering high-quality services and by helping their customers to turn waste into resources, so reducing both costs and environmental impact.

“But across the EU the principle of fair and open markets is not consistently applied. In some member states, municipalities claim that both waste from households and similar waste from the commercial and industrial sectors should come within their exclusive rights.”

The online discussion for stakeholders and experts on waste management will run from 12 June to 4 September. The Commission said it wants to obtain a better understanding of the nature and the extent of regulatory failures causing undue distortions to recycling and recovery markets.

A broader CE consultation opened on 28 May and will run until 20 August. The proposals are set for release in the autumn and are expected to include recycling targets tailored to each member state.

The original package was dropped last December, and included recycling targets of 70% for municipal waste and 80% for packaging by 2030.

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